Hugos

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About those Hugos.

Filed in Hugos, SF&F, UncategorizedTags: , , , ,

There has been quite kerfuffle going on all over the blogs and facebooks and twitters about this year’s Hugo Award nominations.   Rather than confine myself to short quips or not so short screeds buried in a dozen blogs or facebook threads, I’ll just leave my thoughts here.

Some links about the Hugo Kerfuffle.  From there you can dive as deep into this issue as you want.  Ultimately, it all started with a flare up over some presenter for the awards being not politically correct enough for a certain vocal minority of SF&F readers.

Ok, enough.  Links:

I’m sure there are other links out there.  Go google them for yourself.

Now my take on all of this:

Something that bears remembering is how the Hugo nominations work.    Anyone (and I do mean *anyone*) with $40 or $50 can purchase an associate level membership to WorldCon and nominate their choice for the Hugos.  That’s it.  It’s a popularity contest, decided by *the READERS and FANS* of the SF&F genre.

How did Vox Day and Larry Correia and other such “controversial” authors make it onto the ballot this year?   Fans.  Their fans voted them there.   That’s it.

Now, as to whether the Hugo administrators should *let* someone with controversial views onto a ballot, I am firmly in the camp of “if the votes are there, they’re on the list”.

Where has SF&F genre fiction gone when something as trivial as contrary political or social views of an author, or even a book, leads to such an outcry of “burn him!” within the fandom communities?

SF&F is about pushing boundaries, testing ideas, playing with mores and social constructs, expanding horizons.   It is also, and much more importantly, about entertainment.

Each of us, as a purchaser and reader, must make a value judgement when we set out to exchange our energy for the energy of the author.   Energy in the form of our money and his effort to put a story down on paper.   We have to ask ourselves if the return we get from this book, be it entertainment, education, etc..  is of more value to us than the energy (ie.. money, time to drive to library, etc..) we must expend to acquire it.

If not, then don’t.  The reason, outside your own decision, is irrelevant.  It simply does not and can not matter to another human why you made that choice.

The people screaming from the top of the blogosphere with all their voice and pageviews about these two and a few select other authors have done just the opposite of what they want to happen.  They’ve given them a platform and a notoriety they otherwise would have had to expend significant amounts of their own energy to attain.

Calls for boycotts, ‘approved’ and ‘disapproved’ lists for awards or conventions or panels, reeks of McCarthyism.  “He doesn’t toe the line on XYZ! Burn him!”.

I had hoped that in 2014, we were beyond that.  I had hoped that, finally, in an era of communications technologies undreamed of by the greats of SF&F just two generations ago, we had gone beyond the nanny-ism I’m seeing.   “He offended me!  Make him stop!”

So I say to you, read what you want to read.  Recommend what you want to recommend.  Complain about what you want to complain about.  I’ll defend you to any power you name.  But gods help you if you deny my right to do the same.

 

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